At the event (Source: nhandan.com.vn)
 
Hanoi (VNA) – The Government’s Committee for Ethnic Affairs and the Irish Embassy in Hanoi held a national symposium on January 3 on ethnic policy and orientations towards building it for the 2021-2030 period.

Speaking at the event, Minister and Chairman of the committee Do Van Chien said Vietnam is home to 54 ethnic groups – including 53 ethnic minorities that make up 14.6 million people, accounting for over 14 percent of the total population. These minority groups live mostly in mountainous and border areas, including 5,266 communes, 548 districts, and 51 cities and provinces.

Since 2016, the Government and Prime Minister have issued 14 documents regarding priorities to socio-economic development in ethnic and mountainous areas, including 15 ethnic policies. Up to 54 policies on socio-economic development in mountainous and ethnic areas have remained valid. However, unemployment, poverty, natural disasters, and diseases still pose grave challenges to such areas.

Permanent Deputy Prime Minister Truong Hoa Binh affirmed that the Party and State has always paid attention to development in mountainous and ethnic areas, considering it a key task in building great national unity and sustainable development.

He said that over the years, ethnic policies have improved in accordance with common development orientations, especially in education, healthcare, sustainable poverty reduction, social progress, and equality.

Binh admitted that cooperation among ministries and agencies in policy building and implementation remains limited, while many localities meet difficulties in pooling and allocating resources.

According to him, the average income of ethnic minority groups is equivalent to 40-50 percent of the regional average. The rate of poor households in ethnic minority areas accounts for 52.7 percent of the total nationwide. The quality of education, healthcare, and cultural facilities is still poor, while access to social services is hard. About 21 percent of those aged above 15 are unable to read and write the Vietnamese language fluently. Though health insurance coverage is high, the rate of health check-ups and treatment is low.

Former Chairman of the committee Ksor Phuoc and former Director of the Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development Dang Kim Son suggested that ethnic policies focus on localities’ advantages.

Chairman Chien, for his part, called attention to the need to increase investment in poorer communes.

Deputy PM Binh asked the committee, ministries, agencies, localities, scientists, and experts to give a full review of ethnic policies for the 2016-2018 period that look into ethnic minorities’ income; livelihood; and their access to culture, education, and healthcare.

Deputy head of the Department of Development under the Irish Embassy Reachbha FitzGerald proposed that national capital should be allocated as soon as possible to ensure effective implementation, full participation from all walks of life, and accountability of parties concerned.

Communities’ active involvement should be encouraged in proposing, choosing, designing, building, operating, and maintaining infrastructure works, she said. –VNA